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Google making ads more "interesting"
Google introducing ads based on websites people visit

 2:02 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

We think we can make online advertising even more relevant and useful by using additional information about the websites people visit. Today we are launching "interest-based" advertising as a beta test on our partner sites and on YouTube. These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads.

Making ads more interesting [googleblog.blogspot.com]



 2:19 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hmmm... That's probably the reason why some ads seem to not be targeted to page content anymore. Oh, well. We can't blame G for trying and testing and trying... It would be nice if publishers could opt-out of that beta testing, though.


 2:43 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

This apparently requires another mandatory update to publishers privacy policies.


 4:49 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wow, this will cause a lot of privacy and relevancy issues.
If someone uses your browser and goes to youtube to see a video they'll be able to figure out possibly what else you're doing online.
Publishers who really care about the ads that are shown on their site and want them to be relevant to their site will be frustrated/angry when site users call up to complain that there are inappropriate/irrelevant ads on it. This will especially be an issue for people that share a computer (example: families).


 4:52 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

one problem i see with that, for publishers, is that it will be difficult to target your ads. because you won't know if you're looking at the same thing that everyone else is.

and if you get a page in your stats with a low CTR, how are you supposed to know now whether its because of the content on the page, or the browsing habits of your visitors?


 5:08 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can think of any number of ad topics that I would not want displayed on my site(s). This does not make me happy at all. Not only does it open the door for display of ads that move from the irrelevant to the damaging, it makes monitoring what is displayed impossible.

Competitive ad filters? They would appear to have lost all relevance.

It seems that while publishers keep masking for more control G keeps providing less.

I will have to consider carefully whether our main site will continue in the program at this point :(

OK, went and read the post. For now appears somewhat limited, but above still applies when/if it is rolled out across the system.

I think G is loosing the roots that made them what they are. I remember when reports were that the Cluetrain Manifesto hung in offices at the g-plex as a guide to doing business...

Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and...

- Cluetrain Manifesto

By making ads more relevant, and improving the connection between advertisers and our users, we can create more value for everyone...

- Googleblog

I don't think its there anymore...

[edited by: willybfriendly at 5:24 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2009]


 5:14 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's no way such a thing can work.
Yes, people share computers. People search stuff online for other people. Also, what I'm interested on and researching now is not necessarily what I'll be interested later today.
That's a total bummer. A waste of google resources. Google is getting lost, please get back to reality.


 5:19 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Behavioral targeting has been increasing its momentum with banner ads for a while, so it's not a surprise that G is throwing its hat in the ring.

Truste released a report that says

- Consumer discomfort with behavioral advertising declined year over year (from 57 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009)
- Although consumers worry about protecting their private information online, they are growing more accustomed to behavioral targeting
- 63.9% prefer to be served targeted advertisements from brands they know and trust over irrelevant, intrusive advertisements.
- 72 percent of those surveyed said they found online advertising intrusive and annoying when the products and services being advertised were not relevant to their wants and needs.


 5:22 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

(I'm cross-posting this from another thread.)

I'm around to answer questions, but if you're looking for more information, you should first check out the resources we've put out to educate folks from all angles. In addition to the AdSense Blog post, there are posts on the Official Google Blog, the AdWords Blog, and the Google Public Policy Blog.

The Google-wide team working on this has put a lot of hard work into this launch, and I personally think it's great news for publishers, advertisers, and users.



 5:24 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

(ok, I'm cross-posting my question as well)
The Google-wide team working on this has put a lot of hard work into this launch

Is this the reason why adsense is behaving so wildly this month (aside from the bug you already mentioned, of course)?


 5:53 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm just reading about it on the NYT (today, March,11th 09), but I don't know if I'm allowed to post the article's URL here.
Interesting comment:
"“This further extends the schizophrenic nature of the relationship between Google and publishers,” said Rob Norman, chief executive of GroupM Interaction" :)


 6:32 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Will there be away to turn this off? I really don't want my site's visitors to think I'm spying on their movements elewhere on the net, and unless it provides a significantly higher revenue I'd want an option to click the off-switch if there is one.


 6:59 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

yes, an opt out, off-switch would be nice


 7:45 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Me too, an opt-out, please, please!


 7:52 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

on the plus side, i suppose its better to have interest-based ads showing rather than untargeted ones, even if they've got nothing to do with your site. that would be cool by me.

but are they going to take priority over the targeted ones? not sure about that.


 7:53 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Put me in line for an opt-out option, please!

ASA, we don't want expanding ads and behavioral-targeted ads -- we want on-topic contextually relevant ads and better filtering to keep out the crap.


 8:07 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Anyone see the film Minority Report? I could see then the kinds of problems this sort advertising can cause. Unless it gets outlawed, everyone in the future will have a marketing profile whether they like it or not. Your whole life could be constantly influenced by your previous actions. Eg. People living a life wondering why was the whole world was so obsessed with advertising holidays everywhere? Not actually knowing that other people was not experiencing the same thing.

Ad serving algorithms should not go and change to this kind of advertising, but injected in very small portions (like 4%) into the current ad algorithms.

And, where ever this kind of advertising exists, users should always have the option of turning it off.

[edited by: Seb7 at 8:12 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2009]


 8:09 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd be amazed if the publishers were allowed to opt out.

This is the way the advertising world is going, people, and not just Google by a long shot. Get used to it.


 8:15 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

and also...
what's the point of us building a page reviewing an item, promoting its sale, to better plug the ad, if they're just going to bung another ad on there about a completely different product.

the way i understand it is this: if your whole site is targetted around selling widgets, and they click on an ad about widgets which then produces a sale, then you're potentially looking at a higher ecpm. because your site has more value to the advertiser.
but if they are presented with an ad selling tomatos instead, then the chances of it actually producing a sale at the end is lower, because you haven't done all the pre-selling for it first.


 8:21 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

And, where ever this kind of advertising exists, users should always have the option of turning it off.

They do: [networkadvertising.org...]

Adsense publishers should already know that, because it's supposed to be in your privacy policy.


 8:30 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ads are, at least in my opinion, a part of the user experience. I want them to be relevant to my site, in a way that they actually supplement whatever content I have on my site. I hardly see how this will improve it.

Don't tinker with something that works...


 8:47 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't tinker with something that works...

What if tinkering with it makes you more money?

My adsense was working fine for a long time. Then I tried tinkering with it, and by changing placement and format was able to double my earnings. I sure wish I had started tinkering with it earlier!

I have mixed feelings about this. I expect it will make me more money, because my site doesn't monitize very well. My content isn't directly related to anything that makes a lot of money. For a site like that, this kind of advertising could perform very well.

On the other hand, this sort of technology is so deeply evil it's hard to contemplate it with equanimity. I try to soothe my conscience with the fact that visitors can opt out, but it still doesn't sit well to even be collecting this sort of data on people in the first place.


 8:56 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

what is good for google must be also good for us publishers.
they wouldn't introduce it if they wouldn't be sure that it will bring more earnings.

so I'm very open to it, the only thing I read was "more earnings for publishers" :)


 9:24 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

This year we will expand the range of ad formats and publishers that display labels that provide a way to learn more and make choices about Google's ad serving.

Looking forward to the first bit, not so sure about the second.


 9:38 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Scroll down a bit in the Google blog post and you will see a link to where end users can see which interests their tracking cookie has been flagged for. That can be interesting to keep an eye on.

Choice - We have built a tool called Ads Preferences Manager, which lets you view, delete, or add interest categories associated with your browser so that you can receive ads that are more interesting to you.

norton j radstock

 9:40 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is more to life that simply making quick bucks today -I want visitors to come back to my sites in the future. For that reason I want ads to be relevant to the site content -I want to enhance visitor experience -that is why the Adsense offering has been so strong.

Think this through guys, if ads are targeted to the user, then the ultimate conclusion will be the same ads whatever site you visit -can't think of anything more likely to create ad-blindness.


 9:42 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just opted out but I'll see if there are favorable reports about this in coming weeks. I might eventually change my mind.

I'm guessing that I still need to make additions to my privacy policy in any case.


 9:54 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

This should be a controllable setting in AdSense: give the option for publishers to use it at some places and not use it at others.

But this has been long in coming, just through mining search queries, G can know what interests user have. Add to that all sites that serve AdSense, all sites that use Analyser, the toolbar, Gmail, and BANG, you have tons of valuable surfing info to mine from.

As long as there is adequate level of control available to users, then I am OK with it. Today unfortunately, there isn't.

The Google Account should include a privacy level setting. Until then, we're threading on dangerous grounds.

But at least G is sharing with webmasters, not like telecom companies that try to hijack our ads. That's even worse. Soon they'll hijack our whole online behaviours to mine. They have access to ALL data (almost, except for encryption), way more than G will ever have.

[edited by: Hugene at 9:58 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2009]


 9:55 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just opted out but

Can you do that as publisher, or you did as a visitor, icedowl?

I want to enhance visitor experience -that is why the Adsense offering has been so strong.

I agree. That's the main reason why you can make more money with adsense contextual ads.


 10:16 pm on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can you do that as publisher, or you did as a visitor, icedowl?

On the "My Account" tab in Adsense, toward the bottom, there is a section called Interest-based Ads Preference which allows you to opt out. Opting out also means that data collected from your site will not be used in determining interest categories.

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